Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Rarely am I at a loss for words. But as I sit here in my downtown Regina hotel room, there's only one way I can truly describe how I'm feeling.Numb.Rarely has a case I've covered thrown me for a loop like the Peter Whitmore matter.But after hearing every single horrific detail emerge at Whitmore's sentencing hearing today, I find myself struggling to understand how humans can be so cruel.Especially to sweet, innocent children.Peter Whitmore was once a child. He wasn't born evil. Yet that is exactly what he has become. And after more than a decade of covering crime, I still can't figure out how that happens. I don't think I ever will.Whitmore wasn't driven to kidnap and rape kids because of some untreated drug or alcohol addiction.He didn't spin an elaborate web of lies and come up with unreal tales of deceit based on some one-time error in judgment.What he did to these two boys - and other child victims before them, to a lesser but still very serious degree - was cold-blooded and calculating.It is probably the worst set of facts, by the worst offender, that I've heard since Paul Bernardo's case was in court.Personally, the Whitmore case is harder for me to stomach than many others I've covered because I've actually gotten to know one of the victims quite well.The 10-year-old Saskatchewan boy - who I've previously described in a blog as the bravest kid I've ever met - has some qualities which I see in my young son. And my heart aches for him, his amazing family along with the Winnipeg teen and his family.One thing has become crystal clear to me. Peter Whitmore should never taste freedom again. Ever.The parole board must deny any and all bids for release and ensure he dies behind bars and never gets the opportunity to harm another child. He's past the point of no return and all out of second chances.Life must be life.
This case has also left me believing it's time the federal government look at creating a special class of sentence for the Whitmores and Bernardos of this country.Take parole out of the equation. Make a life sentence absolute.Because all the so-called controversy over the Crown taking the dangerous offender designation off the table is somewhat misleading.Whitmore would still be eligible to be considered for release regardless. Yes, it may be an even steeper hill to climb. But he can still try and climb it. That's because there is NO sentence in Canadian law allowing for the prison key to literally be thrown away.As I said last week, I think this is a good deal - under the currently legislative climate - mainly because it spares the victims from testifying.After sitting in court today, I'm just glad it was the Crown reciting the disgusting facts of this case - and not the two boys being forced to do it in full public view.There is a ton of information to digest on the Whitmore case, and we at the Free Press
have been doing the most thorough job you'll find anywhere in this country.Besides a slew of stories which have followed the case from start to finish, we've now posted the verbatim transcript of the Crown's sentencing submission. This gives you a great opportunity to have an unfiltered look at exactly what was said and what Whitmore did. Click HERE to read it.
We've also posted the nine victim impact statements tendered in court, including statements from both boys, their parents and siblings. They are powerful, heartbreaking and a must read. Click HERE to do so.
And stay tuned. I'm not done with this case yet. Far from it.(Got a thought you'd like to share? Post it below)www.mikeoncrime.com